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Thread: Pub Photography - A Risky Business?

  1. #1
    I'll stay on me own Andy Ven's Avatar
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    Default Pub Photography - A Risky Business?

    We have touched upon this subject at various times recently but has anyone yet been confronted by someone objecting to you taking photos of a pub?

    I was photographing something like my 420th pub on Sunday in Kingswinford. Bearing in mind that a few smokers were sat outside I kept a reasonable distance and photographed the wider building and the pub sign. As I was going back to my car a fairly young chap shouted Oi! and asked why I was photographing his pub (I say 'young' because he looked about 30 and therefore relatively young for a publican). This was my first ever objection.

    He came striding across the car park towards me and I was half-bracing myself for a punch on the nose. I have anticipated what I might do in this situation so I had my answer prepared.

    I explained that I take photos, as a hobby, for a website called Pubs Galore where people can upload photos and reviews. I showed him my list that I was working through and explained that there was nothing on the site for his pub so I was effectively doing something to put the pub on the map, give it some free advertising and that I was about as dangerous as a train-spotter. Fortunately, he then mellowed and said 'Oh, I'll have a look at that'.

    You don't quite know how things might pan out and ensuring my own safety is high on my list of priorities. If he had still objected I would have offered to delete the pictures. I would have given up my memory card only with great reluctance but no way was he getting his hands on my camera.

    If I get an uneasy feeling when I arrive on a pub car park I even park near to or facing the exit so that I can get away. I keep a distance and rely on the zoom of my camera to get a decent shot. If I take a photo inside a pub I use my camera phone so that people aren't annoyed by a flash going off.

    It's a bit sad that people are so suspicious. Obviously if you write reviews you can do this more discreetly. Accepting that we do this voluntarily, and therefore I see no responsibility on the part of PG to look after us, has anyone else faced a similar situation and what did you do (or even if you've only thought about it what is your contingency plan)?
    Waes hael!

  2. #2
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    I have to say that story just makes me sad it really shouldn't be like that.

    The other thought that jumped into my head is to think is it a surprise that pub business is suffering when there is this sort of concern? (An open question if a little bit leading). I am sure that price and the smoking ban have a huge effect, but I also think people are less sociable these days (although that may just be me ).

  3. #3
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    I've had a few funny looks as a quick look at some of my pictures will show, only once did I get some sort of shout - I was on the other side of the road and at an angle so I just ignored the bloke and walked off leaving him to his fag. Often I take the pictures after leaving a pub and having a drink so I care a little less than if I was sober, but I usually assess the situation before pointing the camera and sometimes don't bother if I think it might be trouble. I've had funny looks while taking notes but only a couple of people have asked what I was doing, I usually say "making notes about some work I'm doing tomorrow" or "I just saw a bloke about some work and I don't want to forget what he said". One guy thought I was a "CAMRA inspector".
    Drink drink, whoever you may be,
    we are the drunk and disorderly,
    and we’ll drink more beer wherever we may be,
    and we’ll meet you all in a pub said he.

    Dr Busker

  4. #4
    Get some gravy on it. Maldenman's Avatar
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    I generally wait until any smokers have gone back inside, two reasons really, I don't want any bother nor do I want them cluttering up my photo. I have had instances where I'm looked at strangely, but so what, it's my life not theirs.

    Interior photos I'm more wary of, as again I don't really want to include people and I don't wish to arouse suspicion.

    With any photo you take in a public place there is the risk of someone taking it wrongly, I just exercise caution and common sense.

    Cars and number plates don't bother me, if someone is where they shouldn't be it's their risk not mine.

  5. #5
    This Space For Hire gillhalfpint's Avatar
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    I have not had bother with interior or exterior photos. I have had a smoker jump out of shot when I pointed camera at a pub before. Usually take the photo before going in in case I forget when coming out.

    Taking notes makes me more suspicious to the drinkers. "Beer Police?" is one comment I got from a chap at the next table. I just say I'm noting beers like a trainspotter notes trains. I have not felt threatened before, and have never had to work out an escape strategy.

    The thought that someone has to do that is a bit off putting. I like to feel that I do what I do for pleasure and would not be comfortable with it if I felt threatened.

  6. #6
    The Beerhunter. RogerB's Avatar
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    I was attacked a couple of years ago whilst doing the rounds locally. 2 blokes must have trailed me and one came from behind whilst the other "queried" what I was doing. He made a grab and I managed to shake him off and half punch him into the road (shame there wasn't a car coming along at the time). He didn't get the whole camera but the lens came away and both chaps ran off with it. Had I not still had the rest of my camera I would have probably made chase and undoubtedly kicked the crap out of at least one of them had I caught them. I think they were probably pikeys from the funfair over in the local park (it was Easter Bank Holiday). Naturally, the police did sod all about it!

  7. #7
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
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    That's most disturbing Roger and, for those who've not had the pleasure of meeting him, he's a big bloke.
    Pity it couldn't be settled by a Queensberry rules drinking contest. I think we know the winner there...

    But risky business in a different sense - this one was obviously taken on the way out - Peter Ashworth, I salute you!

    http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubpictures/20062/

  8. #8
    Inndigestion Strongers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trainman View Post
    That's most disturbing Roger and, for those who've not had the pleasure of meeting him, he's a big bloke.
    Pity it couldn't be settled by a Queensberry rules drinking contest. I think we know the winner there...

    But risky business in a different sense - this one was obviously taken on the way out - Peter Ashworth, I salute you!

    http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubpictures/20062/
    I spotted that one and it made me chuckle.... Nearly as bad as some of mine!

    I've had a couple of funny looks, but I find a quizzical stare puts people on the back foot.
    WE ARE THE BREADMEN - UP THE BEES

  9. #9
    This Space For Hire aleandhearty's Avatar
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    I've only been accosted once, by the manager of a large Harvester type place,ironically not really a proper pub, on the outskirts of Wakefield. Set back from the road, with a huge car park, I couldn't get a decent shot without straying from the footpath. As it was before the place opened, it wan't surprising I stuck out like a sore thumb, standing alone in an acre of tarmac. I suppose it didn't help that I was dressed in an outfit suitable only for heavy gardening.

    The guy approached me at speed and asked whether he could help me at all, in the sort of tone that means P**s Off! I think he honestly thought I was casing the joint. Fortunately, I had about a dozen shots in total of different pubs, so he was mildly placated. I explained it was for a pub website and that it might drum up a bit of trade, but he still gave me the full face saving spiel on private property, asking permission...yada yada.

    It's the pub's photo on 'the other site' and is quite similar to the one already on PuG, but maybe I should submit it anyway for posterity's sake.
    'And where he supped the past lived still. And where he sipped the glass brimmed full' John Barleycorn, Carol Ann Duffy.

  10. #10
    Fully paid up beer belly Farway's Avatar
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    I have had a few challenges, but now normally just say I collect pub photos, by my looks I reckon they just put me down a harmless dozy old git

    However I do tend to park away from pub and walk back, having been accosted by some publicans when I used the car park [all mellowed once I explained PG web site]

    Had same experience with a Harvester, but again they mellowed once explained

    Do publicans spend all their time looking out of the windows?

    I find it varies, some have even invited me in to take interior shots and details, give me their business card etc

    I have just bought a new camera 18x optical zoom, so I hope I would have a head start on any one trying to catch me, but from my experience most seem OK with it, never had any real trouble, but then around here we even let folk out of side roads, give way to pedestrians at junctions and even wait our turn at the bar

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